According to multiple reports, the Detroit Lions have signed former Seattle Seahawks tight end, Luke Willson.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 21, 2018
The contract appears to be worth $2.5-million with some incentives.
GM Bob Quinn has been busy searching for tights ends after the release of Eric Ebron. Free agents like Brent Celek, Logan Paulsen and Levine Toilolo have all visited Detroit. Fans should be excited about Willson because he is the best of the bunch.
The 28-year old is a very underrated athlete.
During his pro day at Rice back in 2013, he posted some eye-popping numbers at 6-foot-5, 254-pounds:
- 40 Yrd Dash: 4.51
- Vertical Jump: 38
- Broad Jump: 10’02”
- 20 Yrd Shuttle: 4.29
- 3-Cone Drill: 7.08
Willson’s impressive performance led to him to being drafted by the Seahawks in the fifth-round (158th overall).
For comparison, every single figure above is better than Ebron’s measurements. Important to note, Willson’s numbers were at a pro day which tend to be slightly more favorable for the participants. No matter the case, don’t overlook Willson’s ability.
If the Lions wanted an athletic “F” tight end for their system, they actually upgraded in the athleticsm department. Given the athlete Ebron was, becoming more athletic at the position is rather surprising.
Unfortunately, Willson’s hands don’t appear to be an upgrade. Although a small sample size, Willson dropped two passes on 20 targets last season– that drop rate is actually worse than Ebron’s.
In Willson’s five-year career, he has 89-catches, 1,129-yards and 11 touchdowns– all with Seattle. Solid numbers, but nothing too flashy. Willson has never had more than 400-yards receiving in a season. Given that he was usually the second tight end in the offense, it makes sense. He has started 37 regular season career games.
In the blocking department, PFF rated Willson as the 26th best run blocker out of the 69 ranked tight ends in 2017.
Overall, Willson has a similar skill set at a much cheaper price than Ebron. Only time will tell if he can produce the same numbers with his opportunity.